Kensington is an unincorporated community and census designated place located in the Berkeley Hills, in the East Bay, part of the San Francisco Bay Area, in Contra Costa County, California. In its early days it was considered part of Berkeley, although it is across the county line. House numbers follow the pattern used in Berkeley, and Kensington shares two zip codes with the Berkeley hills area.
Kensington’s residents are, for the most part, affluent and highly educated. Many distinguished University of California, Berkeley professors, Nobel Prize laureates, and other notable San Francisco Bay Area professionals have resided in Kensington, such as University of California, Berkeley’s theoretical physicist and professor of physics Robert Oppenheimer who was the Director of the Manhattan Project’s Project Y that developed the atomic bombs during World War II. The population was 5,077 at the 2010 census.
Kensington is an unincorporated community of Contra Costa County that borders Alameda County. Unlike many unincorporated communities, Kensington has local jurisdiction over its police department, park services, refuse collection and fire department. These are governed by two elected boards. The five-member Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District (KPPCSD) Board oversees the police department, park services, and refuse collection. The five-member Kensington Fire District Board oversees the fire department and emergency medical services, of which the day-to-day function is outsourced to the fire department of El Cerrito, a neighboring city. The Kensington Municipal Advisory Board (KMAC) is a commission whose members are appointed by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.